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Xin Zhao Build Guide by ChipsAhoy101

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League of Legends Build Guide Author ChipsAhoy101

Fate has made its choice: Jungle Xin Zhao

ChipsAhoy101 Last updated on October 1, 2012
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Jungle Role
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Jungle Role
Win 53%
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

Not Updated For Current Season

The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.



Offense: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 9

Strength of Spirit

Utility: 0

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Hello and welcome to my first guide ever on Mobafire. After being a long time user of this website and its great content I decided I want to try and share what I know about Xin Zhao with every and anyone insterested. I myself don't have complete ultimate knowledge, but I've been jungling him for a long time now and tried out different builds to see which work, which don't, and which is most optimal. I hope you enjoy what I have to offer and get at least some insight as to how I play the Seneschal Of Demacia.

NOTE: I would like to give much thanks, recognition, and credit to jhoijhoi for providing the templates, line dividers/separators, and a good grasp on the concept of how to make a guide. You can find that guide here.

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Pros / Cons

Pros / Cons


+ Great sustain in jungle
+ Good gap closer/slow
+ Knock up
+ Amazing burst
+ Built in mini Last Whisper

- Lacks SOME early game attack speed
- No escapes
- If used incorrectly, his Crescent Sweep can mess up a teamfight
- Takes some practice to master all his abilities effectively

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Greater Mark of Attack Damage

Greater Seal of Armor

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist

Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage

The runes I use are very standard AD runes. Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage and Greater Mark of Attack Damage are excellent choices for strong early game ganks as well as clearing the jungle quicker. Greater Seal of Armor are standard and theIDEAL choice for not just Xin, but ANY jungler. It will give you a nice +13 armor against the jungle monsters and any counter jungling that may occur. Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist is a nice way to finish off your tanky-ness and although it's not much early game, you don't really need to worry since most champions start off with a solid amount of magic resistance. This will scale into mid/late game.

Other runes to consider

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  • Summoner's Wrath - I get this for the movement speed boost on Ghost. If you take Flash instead, then consider investing this one point into Butcher .
  • Butcher - Helps clear camps a little faster. Take two points in this if none of your summoner spells benefit from Summoner's Wrath .
  • Brute Force - Small amount of AD, but early game ALL extra AD matters.
  • Alacrity - Again, a small amount of attack speed, but Xin is somewhat lacking. Also it's much more viable than Sorcery.
  • Weapon Expertise - This mastery is MADE for Xin. Stacks great with your passive which leads to hitting for almost true damage early game and it scales well into mid and late game.
  • Deadliness - Another small amount of AD. This one is less noticeable early game than Brute Force , but all AD counts.
  • Lethality - You won't start benefiting from this until you have Zeal or Trinity Force and most of the time you won't have a lot of crit chance, but it's nice to have for when you do.
  • Vampirism - Two percent lifesteal isn't a whole lot, but combined with Battle Cry's passive and Wriggle's Lantern gives you plenty of sustain.
  • Sunder - More armor penetration yay! This will help you reach that almost true damage early game.
  • Executioner - Six percent extra damage? Yes please. With Xin's burst combo the enemy should reach that 40% health mark with no problem.

  • Summoner's Resolve - Not required, but extra gold is always nice. Remember: SMITE OFTEN. That way you can make the most out of this mastery.
  • Hardiness - Extra armor will help you take on the camps early game. Sadly this loses its strength once you have Madred's Razors.
  • Tough Skin - Again, this helps with early game camps, but loses all its strength early on. Consider putting these two points into Hardiness if you prefer that.
  • Durability - This benefits more mid to late game than anything, but the survivability is always there.
  • Veteran's Scars - GREAT mastery. More hp = more sustain/survivability. It's basically a free Greater Quintessence of Health!


There is room for SOME tweaking in the offensive masteries such as swapping points in Vampirism for Havoc or Summoner's Wrath for Butcher . These points are minor however, and usually the standard 21 offensive AD masteries is the way to go.

The entire defensive masteries are optional, but they give you such great survavibility that it's almost impossible to pass up. There isn't much benefit that you can get from the utility tree except for Runic Affinity , Swiftness , and Summoner's Insight (if you decide to take Flash). However, it does require you to waste a lot of points into practically useless masteries to reach them so it's usually not worth it.

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Summoner Spells

Summoner Spells

Pretty much required. Deals 445-870 true damage (depending on champion level) to target enemy minion or pet and runs on a nice 70 second cooldown. Helps secure (and in some cases steal) Baron Nashor and Dragon as well as the enemy's buffs if you decide to counter jungle. Also, without this you are going to have the worst time in the jungle, clear very slowly, risk dying, and just be a very inefficient almost useless player to your team. Plus, thanks to Summoner's Resolve you get a nice bonus 10g.

Second summoner spell of choice. Your champion ignores unit collision and has 27% increased movement speed for 10 seconds. It may not seem like much, but the ignored unit collision is more important than people think. Sometimes minions can get in your way and cause terrible pathing which can lead to a failed gank or even an easy kill getting away which is frustrating. In addition, since Xin Zhao doesn't have any real good escape mechanism this is your ticket. This also allows you to keep up with any targets that try to run away and your Audacious Charge happens to be on cooldown. With the bonus from Summoner's Wrath , your movement speed gets increased to 35% and this can almost guarantee a successful early gank/kill.

Probably the most popular spell in league of legends. Teleports your champion towards your cursor's location. This spell is a great replacement to Ghost because even though it doesn't let you cover a vast distance, it makes up for it in its great utility. It's the perfect gap closer to get in range of your Audacious Charge or any other ability. It also allows you to go over most walls/blockades like Trundle's Pillar of Filth, Jarvan IV's Cataclysm, or Anivia's Crystallize.

Good summoner spell overall, but not too great for jungle Xin. Exhausts target champion, reducing their movement speed by 40%, attack damage dealt by 70%, and ability and item damage dealt by 35% for 2.5 seconds. Since Xin doesn't have any good or real escape mechanism, picking up exhaust over Ghost or Flash sort of hinders him. It's best to let someone else take it such as a support. Take this only if your team doesn't have at least one or lacks good cc.

Other possible choices
  • Ignite- Second most popular spell in League of Legends. Ignites target enemy unit, dealing 70-410 true damage (depending on champion level) over 5 seconds and reduces healing effects on the target for the duration. There is no real reason as to why you should pick it up since most of the time your AP carry will be using it, but it's not a a bad spell. Unless you really want the extra damage or need to reduce heavy healing then don't worry about this spell.
  • Teleport- Pretty mediocre for a jungler. After casting for 4 seconds, teleports your champion to target allied minion, turret, or ward. However, if you can coordinate with your team well, then you can set up great ganks with this by simple method of warding a brush and teleporting unsuspectingly. Your enemies will never see it coming. Do remember you are sacrificing Flash and Ghost for this.

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Skill Order/Explanation

Ability Sequence Order
Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

> > >

The order in which to max out your abilities is quite simple. First you want to max out Audacious Charge 2. Battle Cry 3. Three Talon Strike. Putting one point into Crescent Sweep whenever possible.

NOTE: Put one point into Three Talon Strike at level 1, but don't touch it again until you have to. THIS WILL BE EXPLAINED LATER


What is there to say about possibly one of the best passives in the League? Well let's see exactly what it does: Xin Zhao's basic attacks, including those enhanced by Three Talon Strike and Audacious Charge, will reduce the target's armor by 15% for 3 seconds. That's like half of a Last Whisper! Well yes and no. Your basic attacks as well as Three Talon Strike and Audacious Charge get to apply the challenge debuff. So it's like a small Last Whisper that not only you, but the rest of your team can also benefit from. In some ways this is more effective since you can have your AD carry benefit this as well. This passive also allows your Crescent Sweep to NOT knock back whoever is affected by this which is great for when you want to isolate or go straight for their carry.

This is Xin Zhao's bread and butter. This is what makes him such a strong early and mid game ganker. Xin Zhao prepares to unleash a fearsome combo, causing his next 3 standard attacks to deal his attack damage + 15 / 30 / 45 / 60 / 75 (+1.2 per attack damage) to enemy targets, with the final attack knocking his opponent into the air. Now the base damage might not seem like much, but you have to remember it deals 15 damage PER STRIKE so in total that's 45 base damage if all three hits land. However this is not the best part. Look at the ratios: +1.2 PER ATTACK DAMAGE. Now that's crazy because it's not even bonus attack damage, it's total attack damage.

NOTE: Keep in mind that using Three Talon Strike resets your attack animation which can allow for a quick double attack. Use it wisely for some extra damage. Also, the knock up effect from its third hit is so useful for interrupting certain abilities/ultimates such as Katarina's Death Lotus, Nunu's Absolute Zero, or even Karthus's Requiem. This is very important in teamfights so unless you have other interrupts, try to save Three Talon Strike for anyone of these or other abilities that require a cast or channel time.

This is what gives Xin Zhao the sufficient sustain he needs in the jungle.
Passive: Xin Zhao passively heals himself every third basic attack by 25 / 31 / 37 / 43 / 50 (+70% of ability power).

Active: Xin Zhao unleashes a battle cry, granting him 40 / 50 / 60 / 70 / 80 % attack speed for 5 seconds.
So not only does it give you a heal every third attack, but a great attack speed boost as well? That is correct, this will give you just the right amount of healing needed to clear your jungle while maintaining yourself above 50% health which is great. Other than that, it's a straightforward ability. Attack speed buff on activate and passive heal every third attack.

This Xin Zhao's signature ganking tool.
Xin Zhao charges and challenges an enemy. The charge deals 70 / 110 / 150 / 190 / 230 (+0.6 per ability power) magic damage to all nearby enemies and slows them for 25 / 30 / 35 / 40 / 45% for 2 seconds. Not a whole lot to say about this ability either besides that the slow effect is AoE so it can hit multiple targets (so long as they are within the radius of the initial target). It deals magic damage so even if the enemy decides to start building armor early, you can still hit them for some good amounts especially since we want to max this out first.

NOTE: In certain situations and if used right this can be a good escaping tool. Similar to Akali's Shadow Dance you can use enemy minions or neutral monsters to get away or go through walls. The range is nowhere near as long, but the small gap can be the difference between life and death.

An extremely viable ultimate that often gets misused.
Xin Zhao unleashes a sweep around him that dealing 125 / 225 / 325 (+ 1.0 per bonus attack damage) physical damage to all nearby enemies equal to a base amount plus 15% their current health and knocks them back. Xin Zhao gains 15 / 20 / 25 bonus armor and magic resistance for 6 seconds for each champion hit.

If a challenged target is hit by the sweep, it is unaffected by the knockback.
Well that's a mouthful. This ultimate can single-handedly turn the tides of a teamfight and why is that? Because of the knockback effect. This effect can be great for isolating their carry or highest priority target and quickly taking them out, but this can also backfire if you carelessly use it mid teamfight and spread the enemy team apart. This can be problematic if your team can't follow up on or chase down the wounded targets and they end up getting away. This does not mean that you should be afraid to use your Crescent Sweep in the middle of a teamfight where everyone is going to get hit. On the contrary the more enemies hit the better because of the bonus armor and magic resist.

NOTE: You ALWAYS want to start your combo/initiation with this. I get frustrated whenever I see a Xin Zhao player save his Crescent Sweep to finish off their target. THIS ABILITY IS NOT A FINSHER it is an initiation ability that deals more damage the more health they currently have. You are not Garen or Riven.

A good question with a very debatable answer. I will try to keep this short and straight to the point so as to not go on a full on discussion.

Three Talon Strike- Now if you read the section on knowing your abilities with Three Talon Strike I mentioned that it's your bread and butter. This has not changed it still is, that is why we put a point in it at level one. As you may have noticed each rank of this ability only increases the base damage of each strike by 15 or in other words, 45 if you land all three hits. That's not a whole lot, but that's because the grand majority of its damage comes from the amazing 1.2 attack damage ratios and this doesn't scale with rank so you end up with the same benefit of a rank 1 Three Talon Strike as a rank 5 minus some minor base damage of course.

Audacious Charge- This is obviously a must have for a successful early gank about level 2 or 3 if you plan on playing aggressive/active ganker. (Refer to the jungle/ganking section for more details) Each rank of Audacious Charge increases its damage by 40 and the slow by 5%. Now looking at the base stats of this ability, it's easy to tell that Three Talon Strike is the clear winner. More base damage per rank, shorter cooldown, so then why choose Audacious Charge? Well you have to remember to get the FULL damage of Three Talon Strike you have to get all three hits. Early and even mid game players tend to be more cautious so they might use Flash or any escape they have when you catch them for a gank so you might only get one or two hits from Three Talon Strike which means you won't get the FULL damage. Sometimes you might not be able to get any hits at all! Now take that versus Audacious Charge which deals the ENTIRE damage in one use of the ability.

CONCLUSION: In conclusion to all this that I wrote and most people probably just look over, I would like to say that there is no correct answer as to which one should be maxed out first. In the end it's a matter of preference and regardless of which is maxed out first, your damage/burst is going to be undeniable. I just want to share and enlighten those who are curious as to why I choose what I choose. I recommend maxing out Audacious Charge over Three Talon Strike, but it's not set in stone. Sometimes it might not be the most optimal or you just want more physical damage over magical. Always adjust yourself according to how the game is going and how the enemy team is doing and remember: REGARDLESS OF WHICH YOU MAX FIRST, ALWAYS GET AT LEAST ONE POINT IN BOTH BEFORE LEVEL 4

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Core Items

Choice on boots

  • I get Mercury's Treads almost always. It's such an invaluable item that gives you that nice magic resistance early until you're able to get more (if needed) and the extremely useful CC reduction. Very rarely will you face a team with lack of CC or extremely AD heavy. These are the boots of choice.
  • Alternatively, you can get Ninja Tabi if you're going against hard ADs/heavy AD team, or maybe their AD is really fed and you need the reduced damage on their auto attacks early. Consider replacing this for Mercury's Treads late game once you have plenty of armor because like I stated above, the CC reduction is invaluable. Unless they have very little to none in which case then stay with these.
  • NEVER get Berserker's Greaves period. I see so many Xin Zhao players get this and it's so frustrating. You don't need this in any way. Battle Cry gives you more than enough attack speed and with the CD reduction on Three Talon Strike you're only going to end up with about 4 second downtime on it which isn't bad. Also trinity force gives you a good 30% attack speed bonus anyway. Simply put, don't even look at this item.
  • Any other boots not mentioned are probably useless to Xin Zhao and don't benefit or probably hinder him.

Standard item for junglers and Xin Zhao is no exception. Very cost efficient item, probably the most in the game. Gives you armor, lifesteal, chance to deal bonus damage to monsters and minions, and a free ward. What's more to love? I always get this item first or second, depending on how much I need my rank 2 boots. Once you have it, you want the ward to always be in use. Keep track of it so it can always be guarding something whether it's your buffs, the enemy's buffs, dragon, or baron. We don't want to have a unused ward in our inventory now do we?

This is usually the third "main" item I complete. It benefits Xin Zhao in ever way possible which is rare since few champions can actually benefit from EVERY stat it provides. Gives AD, AP, movement speed, attack speed, slow, a better Sheen, crit chance, mana, and health. There is not a single stat there that is useless to Xin Zhao. Before I start building this though I try to get a Heart of Gold. I do this because it will eventually turn into a Randuin's Omen and getting it early I can start raking up the gold from its passive. However, if you feel like you're lacking damage, want the slow, or don't plan on getting Randuin's Omen at all then don't worry about the early and continue with Trinity Force. I normally get Phage first out of all three items for the health and AD. The chance for a slow is nice too. The second and third items are optional. If you want slightly more attack and movement speed to catch up to your targets then get Zeal and if you want the bonus damage as well as slightly more damage on Audacious Charge then get Sheen.

This is the fourth and final "main" item I complete and is also the only item of the four that's optional. Obviously you're not going to get a Randuin's Omen if you're going against 5 APs, but since that's so rare and stupid I leave this as a "main" item. As stated above, if you're planning on getting this then consider getting Heart of Gold early after Wriggle's Lantern. You don't have to, but Heart of Gold gives you a nice amount of health and you can start getting some extra gold which is going to pay for the item itself. Consider getting Randuin's Omen before Trinity Force if their AD carry is giving you too much trouble. If you decide to go this route then try getting at least Phage if you can afford to delay Randuin's Omen a bit as you will be lacking some damage.

Afterthoughts: Now the above four items are what an ideal build should contain with the last two items being optional and situational. However, you're not always going to be facing a team that gets countered by these items, but with just these four you have a solid amount of armor, decent magic resistance, damage, mobility, and health. That is why these items are ideal, they cover Xin Zhao very well and make him well rounded enough to be a great off-tank/bruiser and initiator. The Maw of Malmortius at the end is an optional and situational item that will be explained.

Optional/Situational Items

So you have your four main items and two slots left open (assuming you didn't have buy a certain item along the way to counter a specific champion on the enemy team) so what do we fill these two slots with? Well you can go either with some offensive items or more defensive items and it depends all on how the game is turning out. Are you dying a lot? Then look at what damage is hitting you most and get a defensive item. Are you surviving fine and think you're lacking damage? Get an offensive item. Your first priority is to be able to initiate in and stay alive during teamfights. You're not an AD carry, you're a melee AD bruiser and if you go in on teamfights, get one or two hits off, and die then you're not doing your job right. So here are some items that are good to fill your last two slots and any item not mentioned are irrelevant to Xin Zhao or just aren't worth getting.

Optional Offensive Items
  • Maw of Malmortius- Really good item overall. Provides some solid AD, magic resistance, and a shield for when you get low after taking some heavy damage from their AP carry. I put this along with the main items because with this, Xin Zhao really becomes well rounded.
  • Infinity Edge- Lost some of its worth with a recent patch that made Three Talon Strike unable to crit with each hit, but still solid. Provides second most AD, crit chance, and makes your crit harder.
  • The Bloodthirster- Good item again. Provides most AD from any item (so long as you can get full stacks) and some nice lifesteal.
  • Last Whisper- Get this if the enemy team is building really bulky. Synergizes well with Challenge for a devastating 55% armor pen and provides a fair amount of AD.
  • The Black Cleaver- This was my favorite item to rush before Xin Zhao's rework and a lot of people's too. Gives you solid AD and attack speed and reduces your target's armor by 45 which also synergizes with your passive both of which your team can benefit from.
  • Youmuu's Ghostblade- Another good item that synergizes well with your passive with some flat armor penetration. Gives somewhat low AD, good crit chance, and CD reduction. The active effect is really nice too for chasing or running away especially if you picked up Flash. I'd recommend getting The Brutalizer early if you decide to get this item at all as this will significantly boost your early game damage.
  • Atma's Impaler- With the nerf it got several patches back it lost a lot of its appeal but still provides some alright AD, armor, and crit chance. Not my favorite item to get, but it has some defense as well as offence which is nice.

    Situational Defensive Items

  • Banshee's Veil- Pretty solid item I have to say. Provides good magic resistance, decent health and mana, and gives you a free Spell Shield every 45 seconds. Sometimes this can be a lifesaver, but a lot of the time the enemy will just try to break it with a random spell so it makes the shield somewhat useless.
  • Force of Nature- Is the enemy team AP heavy or is their AP carry fed and hitting you harder than they should be? Then this will make them cry. If their APs are giving you trouble early try getting Negatron Cloak and turn it into force at around mid game if it gets worse. Also provides some really nice health regen and a decent movement speed bonus.
  • Frozen Heart- One of my favorite defensive items in the game that provides the second most armor, a good chunk of mana, 20% CD reduction, and has an aura that reduces the attack speed of nearby enemies by 20%. This combined with Randuin's Omen can make any auto attack champion practically useless.
  • Guardian Angel- Really good item that provides decent magic resistance and good armor. This is item's best trait is the ability to revived you when you die which is great if you're getting focused a lot, but useless if the enemy team leaves you for last during a teamfight.
  • Quicksilver Sash- Not an item I've ever gotten, but it's worth mentioning because it's like a Cleanse and also provides decent magic resistance. You shouldn't have to get this when you have Mercury's Treads, but if for whatever reason there is a specific CC you want to counter right away then consider this.
  • Thornmail- Another one of my favorite defensive items in the game because of its great cost, high armor, and amazing ability to return 30% of the damage dealt to you back to them. IF the enemy team's AD carry is fed and giving you trouble then I highly recommend getting this. Don't let the high armor of this fool you though, as this item is mostly just to counter their auto attack champs.
  • Warmog's Armor- Fairly costly, but really great and is a nice way to finish your build because it will make you practically unkillable. Provides the most health in the game as well as some really good health regen. Not much to say except that Warmog's Armor with Randuin's Omen will make you a pain in the *** to kill. Keep in mind though this does not give any resistances so make sure you have enough of that before you go for straight health.

    NOTE: All the items mentioned above are good fillers in your last two slots, but this doesn't mean you have to wait until you're done with Randuin's Omen to start getting any of these items. Your first priority is to be able to stay alive during engagements with your fellow team mates. If you're getting hit hard by their AP, don't wait until Trinity Force is done, get a quick Negatron Cloak and turn it into Force of Nature if you have to. This build isn't set in stone and you should always adjust it according to the enemy team and how they are doing.

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Jungle Route

The above picture gives you the basic jungle route you're going to want to start with. It's very standard and I don't think requires much detail/explanation, but I will go into it anyway since you have two ways to start your build and multiple opportunities to gank.

The standard jungle route that I go with about 90% of the time is as follows:
  • Wolves
  • Blue golemn buff
  • Wraiths
  • Double Golems
  • Red lizard buff
  • Wraiths again
  • Gank

Note: This is normal, but do make sure to get a decent leash at blue golemn and help with wolves to make your jungling easier.

Now this is NOT ALWAYS going to be the path exactly. Instead you can try out a more agressive path that ganks early and is as follows:
  • Wraiths
  • Red lizard buff
  • Gank

With this route, you should ask for a little help on wraiths and a leash at red buff. After this you should be level 2 and everyone else still 1 which is great and will allow you to surprise them since they won't be expecting such an early gank. MAKE SURE TO PUT A POINT IN Audacious Charge when you hit level 2 so that you can easily gank. If you weren't able to get a kill, no problem. It's very likely you at least made them burn a Flash due to the fact that most players never pick their escape at level 1. Then you can just come back soon after and secure a kill because their Flash is on cd from your earlier attempt. Try to coordinate with the lane you're going to gank so that they pick up any CC ability that they have at level 1 so that you can almost guarantee a kill.

After your fist full clear of the jungle you should be at least level 4. At this point you want to become an active ganker. Xin Zhao is a great ganker and with red buff is almost unstoppable. If your team has their lanes pushed and you simply can't get a good gank, don't worry and don't waste your time waiting. Clear your jungle for a bit until you see an opportunity or counter-jungle if you feel up to it and you can do it safely without giving up a kill.

Important Tips on Ganking

Whenever you are going for a gank, there are a couple of things you always want to keep in mind:
  • Be cautious of sight wards or Vision Wards. Ask your team mates in the lane if there are any around where you're going to gank. If they are unsure then look at the enemy team's items. If they have a ward in their inventory, odds are that one is set up already. Don't let this discourage you though, if the enemy is sufficiently over-extended then a ward won't be enough to save them.
  • An important thing to always remember that a lot of Xin Zhao players don't do is (if you can) don't initiate a gank with Audacious Charge. Time and again I see jungle xin players initiate a gank with Audacious Charge and it frustrates me because it is your gap closer/main chasing tool. Early ranks and with no cooldown reduction (not counting Three Talon Strike) it has a decent cooldown so odds are you won't be able to use it more than once in an engagement.
  • Optimally, you want your ganks to be: start running toward your target, hit them a bit with attacks and Three Talon Strike and once your target has used Flash or any escape they have THAT'S when you Audacious Charge. This is not always going to be how your ganks go however and there will be times when you need to get to your target quick to finish them off or save a team mate in which case then go ahead and initiate with Audacious Charge. If your opponent doesn't have any good escapes or you know it's on cooldown, initiate with Audacious Charge.
  • Once you're level 6, ganks can be easier and funner because of the great utility that Crescent Sweep provides. At this point you can really secure a kill by running ahead of your target and using Crescent Sweep to knock them back toward your team mates/tower. It's similar to Lee Sin's Dragon's Rage except it's not on champion cast and instead knocks everyone around you back. If you do try this, be careful, don't attack them so you don't apply Challenge, and line yourself up correctly. We don't want to be the reason why the enemy got away. If you don't think you can do it, don't try it and don't worry. Just use it as part of your amazing burst rotation.
  • One last thing to know is to always use Battle Cry before Three Talon Strike. It may seem pretty obvious, but a lot of people don't always remember until after their first Three Talon Strike hit lands and they lose that 1 second cooldown reduction. Alternatively, you can go into an engage with Three Talon Strike charged and ready and then activating Battle Cry as long as you can get all three hits and it doesn't go to waste because you waited too long. The important thing is to let Three Talon Strike reduce the cooldown on the rest of your abilities.

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Things to know as a jungler


Now while a good support wards often that doesn't mean you should rely on them all the time. You have a Wriggle's Lantern which means a constant ward so USE IT AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. This won't be enough however, as often times you might need to protect your buffs, keep vision on baron and dragon, maybe you want to counter-jungle the enemy, or you might want vision of the enemy team because they're roaming in your jungle or you want to roam in theirs. One ward obviously can't do it all so whenever possible buy 1 or 2 sight wards after you purchase an item and you have gold left over. Now don't be dumb and just buy a bunch of wards and start placing them everywhere as this will cost you and put you behind on main items. Be smart and use them as needed so here is some info on good ward placement:
  • Red is to have vision on important objectives. In this case Baron Nashor and Dragon .
  • Yellow is to protect your buffs or to keep and eye on the enemy's if you plan on stealing it.
  • Blue is just good spots that give you vision of the enemy's jungle or yours if they are constantly roaming in it.

Monster Information

Keeping track of the monsters in the jungle is your job and knowing how long a certain monster takes to respawn is key to giving you that advantage over the enemy team. So here is some information that I think is fairly important and any jungler should know in order to be not only successful, but also great. You want to mostly remember the timers.

  • Initial spawn time: 15:00
  • Respawn time: 7:00
  • Yields: 300 gold and 900 experience for each member of the killing team
  • Also yields: Exalted with Baron Nashor buff to players who are alive when he is killed.
  • VERY important and key objective in the game that should be warded often because you never want to just let the other team have it.
  • Usually best to play more defensive if the other team has his buff and wait until it runs out.
  • Exalted with Baron Nashor lasts 4:00

  • Initial spawn time: 2:30
  • Respawn time: 6:00
  • Yields: 190 gold for each member of the killing team as well as 400 experience to the killer and his nearby allies.
  • Another key objective in the game that should be killed whenever possible so long as you are capable and it's safe.
  • Ask for help from from bottom lane whenever you decide to engage.
  • Keep warded constantly for maximum control and to keep from getting killed while attempting it.

  • Initial spawn time: 1:55
  • Respawn time: 5:00
  • Yields: 72 gold and 231 experience (+2.5 per minute after initial spawn)
  • Also yields: Crest of the Ancient Golem buff
  • ALWAYS give this to your AP carry after you take the first one. Xin Zhao isn't mana hungry unless you're spamming Audacious Charge which you should never be doing anyway.
  • If your AP carry doesn't benefit from this then give it to someone who can use CD reduction.
  • Only take it if you're lacking in levels and could use the experience.
  • Consider taking the enemy's instead :P

  • Initial spawn time: 1:55
  • Respawn time: 5:00
  • Yields: 72 gold and 210 experience (+2.5 per minute after initial spawn)
  • Also yields: Blessing of the Lizard Elder buff
  • Once early game/laning phase is over and ganking stops, start giving this to your AD carry. You should have a Phage by that point or if not then Audacious Charge gives you a good slow.

  • Initial spawn time: 1:40
  • Respawn time: 1:00
  • Yields: 44 gold (+10 from the lesser wolves) and 128 experience (+20 from the lesser wolves)
  • Also yields: A small "buff" that heals you

  • Initial spawn time: 1:40
  • Respawn time: 50 seconds
  • Yields: 35 gold (+12 from the lesser wraiths) and 105 experience (+60 from the lesser wraiths)
  • Also yields: A small "buff" that heals you

  • Initial spawn time: 1:40
  • Respawn time: 1:00
  • Yields: 40 gold (+15 from the smaller golem) and 117 experience (+38 from the smaller golem
  • Also yields: A small "buff" that heals you

I wrote this mostly just for the timers. You always want to keep track of the kill times of your blue and red buff, Dragon, and Baron. That way you can minimize the chance of getting counter jungled or having dragon or baron stolen as well as making the most use of the benefits from each monster.

Knowing or guessing your enemy's kill time can also help you guess when their buffs are going to spawn so you can get to it before they do and hurt their jungling severely, but I don't recommend doing that until you've familiarized yourself with the jungle. You don't have to keep writing down the timers, a simple typing in chat is good enough to remind you.

Guide Top


In closing I would like to say that after completing this guide, I have a new found respect for all those people who have AMAZING guides. I'm proud of what I have written, but it doesn't even come close to the detail and greatness of some others out there. Now with that out of the way, I want to finish by saying that Xin Zhao is a great champion that I think is underrated and not seen often. He has great damage and needs few items to achieve that, but at the same time he has good defensive capabilities if built right. He has good survivability which allows him to never die in the jungle unless you purposely try really hard to do so. I hope you enjoyed my first guide and walked away with a little more knowledge as to what Xin Zhao has potential for. So go on summoners, to the arena!

NOTE: I will try to keep this guide as updated as possible and make any changes if Riot does anything significant to Xin Zhao.